Sunday 20 October, 2019

POLL: What You Said: Bajans not happy with Health Service Levy

Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Ryan Straughn, during today's sitting of Parliament.

Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Ryan Straughn, during today's sitting of Parliament.

A policy described as for "for the national good" is not sitting well with some Barbadians.

In fact, many are questioning just how good the nation can be when their finances continue to be depleted. 

During this morning's sitting of Parliament, Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Ryan Straughn, kicked off discussion on the National Insurance and Social Security (Amendment and Validation) Bill.

Related Article

A Bill that once approved, will allow the government to make a 2.5 per cent deduction through the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), which is to help subsidize the cost of healthcare in the island through the Health Service Contribution.

A point reinforced by the Minister during his presentation:

"We would have analyzed what would have been provided by the previous administration and we felt that the QEH specifically needed to have clarity with respect to their financing, such that the people of this country can assess the quality of healthcare that they've grown accustomed to. 

"And so this Bill seeks not just to bring a measure of financial certainty to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, but certainly, it demonstrates the importance healthcare plays in the development of a country."

Speaking to the added financial responsibility the levy placed on Barbadians, Minister Straughn urged persons to consider the overall benefits to the nation:

"This particular measure will take a little more out of people's paychecks, we acknowledge that, but fundamentally it is the provision of the services for the national good that is important."

Should government implement the Health Service Levy?

Yes. Government needs the revenue to improve our healthcare service.
No. This is just too much to bear.
I'm not sure.

Consideration was given, but not met with similar sentiments by many who took to Loop News' Facebook page to comment on this development.

"No more taxes please," "Like I should have stick to NSRL only," were some of the shorter posts which showed persons concern about the Contribution.

Many people took the time to express much more detailed unease however:

"Wasn't this the same group of people who were telling the former administration that you can't tax your way out of a recession?" 

"Barbados needs a 21 1st new hospital be4 [sic] you talk about a firing new tax."

Some persons had a few questions for the Minister:

"... Would this new levy be an addition to the already burden some taxes that are not reaching the QEH?

"You now set thinking Barbadians to query what is the need for this new levy when all that is necessary is an amendment to the previous statutory instruments, making the adjustment that those taxes be collected through the NIS," one person said.

"What about making healthy foods more reasonable and accessible? What about making clean water available in all neighbourhoods? What about providing services to make sure that health is generally improved and therefore reduce the impact on the QEH and polyclinics?"

While these views were the overwhelming sentiments among the comments, some persons backed the move:

"I’m in agreement cuz a lot of people abuse this luxury for years."

"Just give her a chance please let's see where she is going."

What about you? Let us know where you stand on the matter by taking our poll.

Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free:

Download the Loop News Caribbean app on Google Play Store:

Download the Loop News Caribbean app on the App Store:

Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: